AS DRONES fly off the shelves this Christmas, a professional operator has warned the technology could cause injury in the wrong hands.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones, are said to be the must-have ‘toy for men’ this Christmas and can be bought for as little as £200 from a gadget shop or Amazon.

But operator Remote Aerial Surveys (RAS), based in Staplefield, said when it comes to using drones it is best to leave it to the professionals.

Marketing manager Sue McKinney said: “Already YouTube is full of images of drones crashing and going over football pitches.

“For businesses drones are a fantastic piece of kit. But we’re in danger of this being spoiled by hobby enthusiasts.

“Our concern is it will get a bad image and result in legislation which makes it difficult to operate.

“In the wrong hands they can undoubtedly cause injury. The kit is not dangerous, it’s the person at the other end who could be dangerous.”

The company, part of Richard Allitt Associates, takes thermal imaging, photography and videos and has official permission for aerial work from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

This demonstrates it has qualified, competent pilots and that their operations comply with the CAA.

Hobby fliers are bound by the same aviation regulations but their operations are not audited regularly by the CAA, leading to fears.

Amateur fliers are also less likely to be aware of air law unlike professional pilots.

Sue added: “The possibilities are endless but it’s about what you attack underneath the drone that makes the difference.

“This is a piece of technology that’s here to stay, and like anything new we have to watch how it evolves.”

RAS was recently awarded a contract to puts its drones to use for Network Rail.

The company will inspect infrastructure and survey services for three years.

Earlier this year RAS became one of the first specialist engineering companies in Europe to receive CAA approval for drone surveys.